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War on Iraq: A Guide to the Future
By ROBERT FISK
The Independent, Mar. 16, 2003
"Here's a few guesses about our coverage of the war to come. American and British forces use thousands of depleted uranium (D.U.) shells - widely regarded by 1991 veterans as the cause of Gulf War syndrome as well as thousands of child cancers in present day Iraq - to batter their way across the Kuwaiti-Iraqi frontier. Within hours, they will enter the city of Basra, to be greeted by its Shia Muslim inhabitants as liberators. U.S. and British troops will be given roses and pelted with rice - a traditional Arab greeting - as they drive 'victoriously' through the streets. The first news pictures of the war will warm the hearts of Messrs Bush and Blair. There will be virtually no mention by reporters of the use of D.U. munitions. But in Baghdad, reporters will be covering the bombing raids that are killing civilians by the score and then by the hundred. These journalists, as usual, will be accused of giving 'comfort to the enemy while British troops are fighting for their lives.' "
"[T]he U.S. will have to find the 'weapons of mass destruction' that supposedly provoked this bloody war. In the journalistic hunt for these weapons, any old rocket will do for the moment. Bunkers allegedly containing chemical weapons will be cordoned off - too dangerous for any journalist to approach, of course. Perhaps they actually do contain V.X. or anthrax. But for the moment, the all-important thing for Washington and London is to convince the world that the casus belli was true - and reporters, in or out of military costume, will be on hand to say just that."
"There will be fighting between Shias and Sunnis around the slums of the city, the beginning of a ferocious civil conflict for which the invading armies are totally unprepared. U.S. forces will sweep past Baghdad to his home city of Tikrit in their hunt for Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair will appear on television to speak of their great 'victories.' But as they are boasting, the real story will begin to be told: the break-up of Iraqi society, the return of thousands of Basra refugees from Iran, many of them with guns, all refusing to live under western occupation. In the north, Kurdish guerrillas will try to enter Kirkuk, where they will kill or 'ethnically cleanse' many of the city's Arab inhabitants."
"Weasel words to watch for: 'Inevitable revenge' - for the executions of Saddam's Baath party officials which no one actually said were inevitable. 'Stubborn' or 'suicidal' - to be used when Iraqi forces fight rather than retreat. 'Allegedly' - for all carnage caused by Western forces. 'At last, the damning evidence' - used when reporters enter old torture chambers. 'Officials here are not giving us much access' - a clear sign that reporters in Baghdad are confined to their hotels. 'Life goes on' - for any pictures of Iraq's poor making tea. 'Remnants' - allegedly 'diehard' Iraqi troops still shooting at the Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement dedicated to the 'liberation' of Iraq from its new western occupiers. 'Newly liberated' - for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans or British. 'What went wrong?' - to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy in Iraq as if it were not predicted."